Sterlite applies to State pollution control body to reopen TN plant

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on December 20, 2018 Published on December 20, 2018

P Ramnath, CEO of Sterlite Copper, at a press conference in Chennai on Thursday   -  M VEDHAN

To restart operations in two months if given the go-ahead

Following the recent National Green Tribunal (NGT) directive to reopen the Sterlite copper plant in Thoothukudi, the company has reapplied with the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) for consent to operate (CTO).

If given permission, the company will be able to restart operations in two months after some basic maintenance work, said P Ramnath, CEO, Sterlite Copper. It’s a a big ‘if’, as the State government has announced it will appeal against the NGT order in the Supreme Court.

In February, the TNPCB rejected the company’s CTO application for 2018-2023 due to its alleged failure to comply with the conditions imposed at the time of the previous renewal of consent order. This was the start of a series of events that led eventually to the closure of the plant.

On May 23, the TNPCB ordered the closure of the Sterlite plant with immediate effect, and directed Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) to disconnect power supply to the unit. This came two days after 15 people were killed in police firing on anti-Sterlite protesters.

Speaking to newspersons here on Thursday, Ramnath said the first thing the company needs is permission to enter the premises to examine the plant and take up various maintenance works. “Once done, we will be able to start the plant in two months,” he said.

Asked if the TN government’s stiff opposition would come in the way of reopening, he said: “We will abide by the court decision. We heard that the State government plans to approach the Supreme Court against the NGT order. We will face that.”

The six-month shutdown of the plant has impacted various stakeholders, including the VOC Port, which saw a significant decline in cargo throughput, he said. The closure also hit over 1,000 truck operators, he said.

‘Green’ Thoothukudi

Ramnath also announced plans to invest ₹100 crore to set up a ‘smart’ school and a hospital in the port town of Thoothukudi. He further said the company proposes to turn Thoothukudi into a ‘clean and green’ city by planting one million trees.

It plans to set up a desalination plant that was originally planned five years ago at a cost of ₹150 crore but stalled due to non-availability of land.

Published on December 20, 2018
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor